Water is welcome, except when the roof is leaking.

First you hear tapping, as though there are rats overhead.

Rodents are solid; the wood and the plaster contain them.

Not so the rain, seeping sneaky and cold through the ceiling

and slithering slow down the wire connected to light

to leap from a height, landing plip and insistent on duvet

until it is sodden, and we have no choice but to wake.

Love is… when he mounts a ladder at three in the morning

with bucket and torch and a towel to mute the rain’s din

and, after, we shovel the bed to the edge of the chamber

and huddle together on one side the rain could not reach.

It could have been worse; we are too high to flood, and the downpour

has moved further east. Still, for one night we felt that our castle

was not safe from danger. We’re usually smug in our dwelling,

unlike those who shiver in subways or under some bridge.

For one night we shared their discomfort, but we will forget them

once more as a man with a ladder comes unto the breach.

First published in Reach





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